This is a letter to my two year old daughter. Sometimes, when so many things are happening, and time seems to be disappearing into a vortex, I write a letter. To remember these good times in our lives.
My dear sweet Giovanna,
You do new things every day. Entertaining things, sweet things, smart things. You are an adventuress. Every morning, you’re at the door, pulling your boots and jacket on, saying “let’s go!” You woke up from your nap yesterday and immediately climbed out of bed, saying “I want to go.” I had the privilege of witnessing this rosy-cheeked disoriented state because I was lying in bed with you. There are benefits to being a little sick, I suppose, such as more time spent sleeping next to you.
Yesterday, in the morning, you pulled on your pink flowered helmet, which you call a hat, and you stood by the door, asking us to “come here” so we could “go.” You rode your kettler tricycle with the push bar almost the whole way to the park, at least 20 minutes, which was your longest ride yet. Emile rode his bicycle some of the time, and some of the time he pushed you on the trike, and some of the time you pushed him. You would have made it the whole way, but then you fell and scraped your knee.
I hate it when you fall down. I hate it when you cry. I hate it when you are sad. Emile says “hate” is a bad word, and I know he’s right. But I still hate to see either of you in pain. When you fight over toys, which you often do, I have to laugh. No matter how many other toys are in the room, stuffed animals and books and crayons that you love, when you’ve both fixated on the same animal or book or crayon, we have trouble. It’s human nature, I suppose, for you and your brother to compete. (Particularly since you both spend about half of your daily lives as only children.) Sometimes, I interject, but mostly, I want you to figure it out for yourself.
The other day, you found a bottle of nail polish on my desk. “Come, mama! Come!” you said, motioning for me to join you downstairs where we could paint nails on the art table. This is the stillest you can be, when you’re getting “nail paint.” We did your fingers and toes, and mine too. I see you admiring your pretty jade-blue nails when you think no one is looking, and I am paralyzed by your delight over a few splashes of color on your body. I can’t move, because if I do, I’m worried I’ll lose that feeling. The feeling that our lives are perfect.
You’ve adopted a new favorite food: chopped nuts. You say “I don’t want to” when you don’t want to. You love to dance, and as Daddy says, you can break it down. I need to get a video of it soon. Watching you dance is better than sleeping. You can count to at least fifteen. You pee and poop on the potty, but not consistently enough to be out of diapers. You run everywhere, and very fast.
You emulate everything I do. You try on my clothes, including my shoes and my underwear. You brush your hair and your teeth, you like to apply lotion and chap stick (and makeup, when I’m not looking and you get your hands on it). You put hair ties around your chubby but tiny wrists. Just like Mama. If I’m wearing gloves, you want to wear gloves. When I saw you carefully lying a wash cloth on the floor before sitting on it, I knew you were remembering last weekend at the pool in California, when we laid on a towel to soak up the sun. You point at letters and try to name them, “A” and “M” being the easiest to identify. It could be a coincidence that these are also the letters that spell Mama, but I don’t think so. You and I, baby girl, we’re two pieces of the same soul.
When I look at your dark eyes, I see your daddy. I see your brother. I see my parents and my siblings and my grandparents and I see more love than I can understand as an earthly being. When those eyes look into my own, my heart melts into thin air, which makes me think that even the air we breathe is sprinkled with love.
I love you as much as the universe is big.